In the world of social media marketing, the word "engagement" gets thrown around a lot, but few brands actually know how to achieve it.
Brands might pursue the low-effort game of tweeting, ‘gramming, feeding Facebook, and Linkedin-ing updates about products, services, and educational content, but see little engagement.
Engagement just isn’t easy to produce. You have to be, well,engaging. In your business niche, the “like my page” approach probably isn’t going to be effective as you’d like.
Let’s look at ideas that could make you a force to be reckoned with.I’ve organized them into an AEIOU list. (I want to call it an acronym, but how would you pronounce the five vowels?)
A is for Ask
The best way to engage someone is to ask a question.“How are you?”and “How’s it going?”are popular options in conversion, but too dull for social media warfare.
“What’s your name?”probably won’t work and“What’s your email?”might come off as a bit too forceful. How about …
“What do you think?”Yes! That’s a winner.
People like to think things through. They like to hear from other thinkers. Certainly, they want other people toknowwhat they think. Try prompting your audience with one of the following "What do you think?" strategies:
Probe their personality.Post a question that invites people to share their opinion or weigh in on something.
Play the “test your knowledge” game.It’s irresistible.
Post a poll.It’s easy to create polls on Twitter and Facebook. In addition to engaging your followers, you stand to learn meaningful things about them too.
Respond to my email.Email from brands are bound to ask you to click-through to read, watch, and try or buy something, but how often do they simply ask you to write back? I find this this be an enormously engaging strategy and have seen it work for my brand and many others. Notice I wrote, “Respond to my email,” not “our email” or “this email.” A human-to-human first person approach will be the engaging way to call this play.
Just ask.Interactivity 101: simply post a question. Whether done so in a social stream, blog post, online group or community, or on a Q&A site such as Quora, I’ve witnessed asking followers relevant, provocative, and timely questions creates some of the most engaging and thought-provoking social media activity of all.
E is for Expression
“E” is for “expression” because of the way social and mobile have collided, making the ubiquitous smartphone a personal expression machine.
It doesn't matter how you create content. The camera might be front or rear facing. Audio might be on or off. Filters, emojis, stickers and so forth may be applied or not. Posts may be permanent or self-destructing. I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Smartphone apps enable people to express themselves every which way, and so they do.
Here are a few ways you can encourage your audience to create content featuring your brand:
Hash it out.The hashtag has become the click-to-connect ticket for bonding with like-minded people. When you put something of interest out there, do a little hashtag research first, or hash out a unique phrase that reflects your brand. Hit that # key, and invite your followers to jump in and hashtag content related
Conduct media upload contests.Many social media fans adore Instagram and Facebook contests, and are especially engaged in the types that involve shooting and sharing original photos and videos. Contests may call for other forms of self-expression as well, such as: recipes, recordings, illustrations, poems, essays, and more.
Rally reviewers.Thanks to pioneers like Amazon and Yelp, reviews, ratings, and testimonials have been baked into the fabric of ecommerce selling spaces and beyond.
Showcase customers, partners and employees.Provided you’re doing something people like, consider creating advocacy programs featuring customers, partners and employees to catalyze your community, amplify your voice, and engage newcomers by giving them a platform to express themselves.
I is for Incentive
I’ve mentioned numerous forms of interactive content, some of them competitions, but have yet to introduce the term “gamification.” People like to play games, compete, keep score, and most of all, win.
Satisfy your audience’s competitive spirit by featuring compelling incentives in your promotions. As incentives go, valuable prizes loom largest, but you may be surprised how even small rewards prove to deliver a sizable lure.
A major majority of savvy B2B marketers put utility at the forefront of their content marketing programs. Useful content created to engage prospective customers could include tools, blog posts, video, infographics, downloadable guides, mini-courses, helpful email sequences, webinars, and much more.